Allen and Rodrigues sign autographs at a Minnesota club

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – World mixed pair silver-medalists Kristin Allen and Michael Rodrigues of Livermore, Calif., recently visited the Twin Cities to promote the 2009 Freedom Cup, scheduled for July 10-12 at The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul, Minn. The acrobatic gymnastics duo performed demonstrations, talked about acrobatic gymnastics and signed autographs at a Saint Paul Saints baseball game, local gymnastics clubs and Circus Juventas.

The gymnastics clubs they visited included TAGs in Apple Valley, Flips Gymnastics in White Bear Lake, Mini Hops in Hopkins and Midwest Gymnastics Center in Little Canada.

At the Saints game, Allen and Rodrigues gave a demonstration on the field prior to the start of the game, threw out the first pitch and signed autographs, as well as posed with the team’s mascot, Mudonna.

Tickets for the Freedom Cup are currently on sale. The Freedom Cup, which just received International Gymnastics Federation World Cup status, will feature more than 160 athletes from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and the United States, making this year’s competition the largest in Freedom Cup history.

The Freedom Cup includes three competition divisions: senior, junior, and age-group. Preliminary rounds are scheduled for Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11, with the final round on Sunday, July 12. A complete list of the entire field will be available closer to the event.

Tickets for the Freedom Cup are $50 for an all-session package and $15-25 for a single-day. Tickets are available at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at For group ticket information, call (651) 312-3486. Discounted tickets are available through participating area gymnastics clubs. Tickets for the Junior Olympic National Championships will be available onsite.

The U.S. Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships, which showcases the nation’s top acrobatic gymnasts, will be held July 12-16 in conjunction with the Freedom Cup. The Junior Olympics features competition in Levels 5-10, junior elite and senior elite, and serves as a qualifying event for the 2009 Visa Championships, scheduled for Aug. 12-15 in Dallas, Texas.

Acrobatic gymnastics combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatics and gymnastics skills with intense acrobatic balance showing grace, strength and flexibility. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise.

An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A women’s group is comprised of a base, middle and top partner, while a men’s group has a base, two middle partners and one top partner. Bases generally are older athletes who display strength and balance and top partners generally are younger athletes who display flexibility and agility. Middle partners often are required to show a combination of all attributes.